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COMMENTATIONES

IRANICAE

90-
. .

Academia scientiarum Russica


Institutum codicum manuscriptorum orientalium

COMMENTATIONES IRANICAE
Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario
donum natalicium

Ediderunt Sergius Tokhtasev et Paulus Luria

Petropoli
in dibus Nestor-Historia
MMXIII

COMMENTATIONES IRANICAE
90-

.. ..

-
-
2013

811.22
81.2

Commentationes Iranicae
90- / . .. .. . . : -, 2013. 672 ., .
ISBN 978-5-4469-0127-2
!
, , .
, , , , , , . ..
, , , ,
. ,
.
811.22
81.2

(-4).

ISBN 978-5-4469-0127-2

, 2013
-, 2013

LAUDATIO
90 ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Addenda ad bibliographiam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Manfred Lorenz
Livshitz und Lorenz(Gratulation aus Berlin) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Richard N. Frye
Six Brief Iranological Remarks in Honor of Volodya Livshits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

IRANICA ANTIQUA
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Helmut Humbach
Zarathushtra, Gthic Poetry, and the Two Spirits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Harald Strohm
Einige religionspsychologische Beobachtungen und Reexionen
zum Apam Napat von Pandschikent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
..
uppa- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
.. , ..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

PARTHICA ET MEDIOPERSICA
Ilya Yakubovich
Middle Iranian Intransitives in -s- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Agnes Korn
Final Troubles: Armenian Stem Classes and the Word-end in Late Old Persian . . . . . 74
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst
l in Manicheaen Parthian Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

..
gsn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Nicholas Sims-Williams
An Early Parthian Inscription on a Bronze Mortar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Enrico Morano
On Some Recently Found Ostraca from Old Nisa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Iris Colditz
Die parthischen Personennamen in den iranisch-manichischen Texten . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Pavel Basharin
Akkadian, Hebrew and Arabic Loanwords in Aramaic Ideograms in Pahlavi . . . . . . 143
Philippe Gignoux
Les documents de Ddn dans lArchive de Berkeley/Berlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
..

II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Dieter Weber
Taxation in Pahlavi Documents from Early Islamic times (late 7th Century CE) . . . . 171
A. Askari Chaverdi, C.G. Cereti
Preliminary notes on two small groups of Sasanian bullae recently discovered
in Frs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Frantz Grenet
Some hitherto Unrecognized Mythological Figures on Sasanian Seals:
Proposed Identications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Michael Shenkar
A Sasanian Chariot Drawn by Birds and the Iconography of Sraoa . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
..
Sr saxwan: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

BACTRICA ET CHORASMICA
Shaul Shaked
The Zoroastrian Calendar in Another Document from Ancient Bactria . . . . . . . . . . . 249
..
.. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Franois de Blois
Bactria, Bx-, Balx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268

..
? . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
.. , ..
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286

SOGDICA
Antonio Panaino
A Sogdian Wind between Paris and London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Guitty Azarpay
The Afrasiab Murals, a Reassessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308
..
(IIIII . ..) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
tienne de la Vaissire
Iranian in Wusun? A tentative reinterpretation of the Kultobe inscriptions . . . . . . . . 320
Judith A. Lerner
Some Thoughts on a Sogdian Double Portrait Seal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
.. , ..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335
..
E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
Adriano V. Rossi
Perception of unevenness and the lexical family of sogdian Psak ~ Pes ~ Pis . . . 367
Elio Provasi
The Diamond Earth. A Manichaean Sogdian Eulogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 378
Christiane Reck
A Specimen of the Buddhist Sogdian Texts
of the Berlin Turfan Collection: the Beginning of a Scroll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394
Yutaka Yoshida
What has Happened to Suns Legs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398
Martin Schwartz
Buddhist Sogdian ()xsyn prtw: a Firmament not Firmly Founded . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
Zohreh Zarshenas
Buddhist Sogdian Term for Teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419

VARIA
Rong Xinjiang
Buddhist Images or Zoroastrian Deities?
The Mixture of Religions on the Silk Road as Seen from Khotan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423
Duan Qing
Puadattas Life as Reected in Khotanese Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435

Dan Shapira
A Shining City on the Hill. Was Jerusalem Kangdiz? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446
James R. Russell
Hrt and Mrt: The Armenian Zoroastrian Demonic Twins in the Qurn
Who Invented Fiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469
Basil Louri
The Slavonic Apocalypse the Twelve Dreams of Shahaisha: An Iranian Syriac
Reworking of a Second Temple Jewish Legend on Jambres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481
..
(, ) :
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 508
..

XII . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515
..

- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 520
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 530
..
: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 552
..
IIII . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 565
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608
Johnny Cheung
Pashto Problems III. Ancient Loanwords from Early New Persian and Indo-Aryan
and the Historical Contacts of Pashto & its Speakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 614
Ela Filippone
Yaghnobi Body Part Terms: Some Introductory Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 631
David Erschler
On Negative Indenites and Negative Conjunctions in Iron Ossetic . . . . . . . . . . . . 649
..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 654
..
Zoroastriana-Slavica:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 661
Abbreviationes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 668

LAUDATIO

90 !
, . , ,
, . , , . , ,
,
, ,
, , , , 64 .
- , , ,
, - , , .
.. , ,
, , , . , !

, , .. 1, -
1
Studies in Honor of Vladimir A. Livshits (BAI, 10, 1996), 1998. .. -; . .. .: .. . , -, 2008. . 58.
.. : . IV.
, , 1986. , , ; . .. :

[ . .], .. (. 3); .
.. , : ( ), . 4 .

10

90 !

anecdota 2
. .. , 2005 .3 26 , ,
, , ,
,
.
, . ,
, , .
, , ,
, - , -, , . , Nov. 6 (. 1112)
, , , ()
()4.

2
- .. // Scripta Gregoriana: .. -. ., 2003. . 470486, passim;
. ( ) // Turcica et Ottomanica:
70- ... ., 2006. . 3048, passim.
3
http://www.orientalstudies.ru/rus/images/personalia/pdf/livshits.v.pdf.
4
rty cw tw xwsnty-kh wxr y | rty mxw xy. .: .. . . . . 201
202.

Addenda ad bibliographiam
( 2005 .
http://www.orientalstudies.ru/rus/images/personalia/pdf/livshits.v.pdf )1.

1.
183. .. , .. . //
184. // . .
185. History of Sogdian Studies // EIr
186. // , 20132017 .
2. , 2005 .

.
187. . ., 2010
188. . ., 2008

.
189. // , ,
(, LII). ., 2013. . 7176.
190. Vladimir A. Livits. Engraved Gems and Bullae with Parthian Inscriptions // Parthica 14,
2012. P. 171188.
191. Lk-mazr // Encyclopaedia Iranica, Web edition, published 2011, available at http://www.
iranicaonline.org/articles/lakh-mazar.
192. III // , , . .. . ., 2011. . 212227.
193. // , 2011, 4. . 156166.
194. (II, IV, V) // , 2010, 3. . 238243.
195. The Avroman Parchment III in Parthian // Anabasis (Studia classica et orientalia) Vol. 1.
Rzecz Rzeszw, 2010. P. 159174.
, 182 , ,
, 183.
, . ,
, (17).
1

12

Addenda ad bibliographiam

196. Sogdian Gems and Seals from the Collection of the Oriental Department of the State Hermitage // Exegisti monumenta. Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams (Iranica, Bd. 17). Wiesbaden, 2009. P. 247250.
197. The Sogdian Ancient letters (II, IV, V) // Scrinium. . V (Symbola Caelestis), 2009. P. 354
362.
198. // , 2009, 3. . 7275.
199. // , 2009, 3. . 108113.
200. // .. . 20002006 . (, I). ., 2008. . 105109.
201. // -. 70- .. . ., 2008. . 184202.
202. Manichaica //
I . ., 2008. . 8287.
203. The Sogdian Ancient letters (IIII) // Iran and the Caucasus. Vol. 12, 2. 2008. P. 289294
(cf. Scrinium, IV [Patrologia Pacifica], 2008. P. 306310).
204. (I, III) // I (8). ., 2008. . 173176.
205. // . .
III. , 2007. . 96.
206. // , . ., . II (VII). ., 2006. . 124131.
207. G. Azarpay, V.A. Livshits. The Middle Persian Archive at Berkeley: a Pre-Islamic Forerunner
of Samarkand Paper? // JIAAA, No. 1, 2006. P. 141143.
208. // Scrinium, T. 2: Universum
Hagiographicum. . , .. ., 2006. . 365370.
209. - - - // . 2005. 1
(6). . 4957.

3. ,


1. Vladimir Livshits. Armeno-Partho-Sogdica // Iran and the Caucasus, 10. 1. 2006. P. 7786.
2. Three New Ostraca Documents from Old Nisa // rn ud Anrn, Studies presented to Boris Ili
Marak on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. Venezia, 2006. . 403406.
3. // .. . ., 2007. . 134137.
5. // , 75- ..
. ., 2006. . 213219.
6. The Leader of the People of Chach in the Sogdian Inscriptions and Coin Legends. // Iranian Languages and Texts from Iran and Turan. Ronald E. Emmerick Memorial Volume (Iranica, Bd. 13). Wiesbaden, 2007. P. 173182.
7. The Sogdian Wall-Inscriptions on the site of Afrasiab // Royal Naurz in Samarkand. Proceedings
of the Conference held in Venice on the Pre-Islamic Paintings at Afrasiab (Supplemento No 1 alla Rivista
degli studi orientali, n. s., Vol. LXXVIII), Pisa Roma, 2006. . 5974.

4.
a.
210 (180) (). . . ., ., 1952.

13

Addenda ad bibliographiam

.
211. (35) ( VIII .
..) // . . I. . . .. .. . , 1998. . 492523.
212. (50) // ..
(19861994 .). ., 1995. . 5960.
213. (56) //
. II: . . , 1992. . 2227.
214. (77) // . . , 1990. . ( .. )
215. (118) VII VIII . //
. . , 2631 1977 . , 1977. . .
216. (131) // . , 1971. . 161169 ( 135).
217. (134) [ ] // , 1968, 3. . 229 230.
218. (146) // , . ., 1965. . 67.
219. (147a) - // , 1963 . . ., 1964. . 5152.
220. (148) [ -] // .. ,
.. . . . 1. ., 1964. . 192193.

.
221. (17) . . . . .. .. . .,
1972 (1- .), 2002 (2- .)

Franois de Blois

Bactria, Bx-, Balx


The name of the land Bactria and of its capital city is attested in various forms: Avestan bx-, Old Persian b-ax-t-r-i-, Elamo-Persian p-ak-i-i and p-ak-tar-ri-i, Greek , , Aramaic btry, Middle Persian
bl, Arabic and New Persian balx, and last but not least, Bactrian . An attempt is made to explain these
diverging forms.

The names of the land of Bactria1 and of its eponymous capital city, mediaeval Balx,
can all be derived from an Old Iranian form *bxr-. The oldest datable attestation of the
name is in Darius Bisitun inscription, where it occurs three times in the Elamite version as
p-ak-i-i2, for the Old Persian nom. sg. *bx, with the usual OP development of r to .
By contrast, the Old Persian versions of the Achaemenid inscriptions have not this, but the
evidently non-Persian form b-a-x-t-r-i-, that is: nom. sg. bxtri. The Greek names ,
could represent (Median?) *bxtri-, or just as well *bxri-.
In just one of the recently discovered Bactrian documents from Northern Afghanistan
(cd 9) we find the name (from the context evidently that of the city, not the country) ,
presumably for /xl/, the ancestor of the Arabic and New Persian form Balx. This surprising
development of Iranian r to Bactrian in post-consonantal position (a shift that does not occur in any other Iranian language) is illustrated also by death < *murra- < *mra-,
and by the divine name < *wurragna < *wragna-. In initial and post-vocalic
position, however, r becomes /hr/, as in the day-name /mihr/ < *mira-, the monthname < *mira-kna-, also etc. east < *mirsna- sunrise and
1
The Bactrian words cited in this article can (if not otherwise noted) be found in the glossary to
N. Sims-Williams, Bactrian documents from Northern Afghanistan, II, London, 2007, from which I
have also taken virtually all of the Iranian etymologies adduced here in support of my argument. I take
this opportunity to thank Nicholas Sims-Williams for sharing with me unpublished material, and for his
helpful criticism of an earlier draft of this paper.
2
The references are collected in W. Hinz and H. Koch, Elamisches Wrterbuch I, Wiesbaden,
1987, p. 107. p-ak-i-i occurs in DB 6:13; 38:801; 39:86; PF 1555:89. p-ak-i-i-a-ip for the
adjective *bxiya- with the Elamite plural suffix /-p/ occurs in PF 1947:59, 62, 64 and Fort. 10785:6
7. The non-Persian form *bxtri is reflected by p-ak-tar-ri-i in DSz 323; DSf 312 (incomplete).
On the other hand, the p-ak-ti-i mentioned repeatedly in the fortification tablets is evidently not
Bactria, but a place in the Persis, though if it were at least the same name (say: a Bactrian colony in the
Persis?) it could in theory be interpreted as bx-, as in Vendidad (see below).

Bactria, Bx-, Balx

269

, and other spellings, west < *mira-nifrna- sunset. It presumably has the same reflex also in the Kushan royal title < *baga-pura-, and
in /hry/ three, as in three and forty, from *ryah-, in an unpublished
Bactrian inscription from the Sasanian period3, alongside later forms with epenthetic vowel
such as three and third.
As is by now well known, is the regular Bactrian reflex of Iranian d, presumably via
. This sound shift affects Iranian d in all positions except in the clusters and 4. It also
affects early loan words like document, copy, text < OP dip- < Late Elamite tippi <
Middle Elamite tu2ppu2 < Akkadian tuppu (uppu) < Sumerian dub5; also the cognate
scribe from the OP antecedent of MP dibr, and , , (later: ,
,) sealed document < Old Persian *murak- < *mura- seal, literally the
Egyptian thing (i.e., the Egyptian-type signet ring, as opposed to the Babylonian-type cylinder seal) < Akkadian Muzur Egypt6, with the specifically OP shift of z > . Likewise
hand < *asta- (if this is in fact a loan word from OP rather than dissimilated from *zasta-).
But it does not affect later (post-Achaemenid) loan words like dinar < Gk.
< Lat. denarius, or Indian borrowings like < buddha-, or < deva-. Nor does it affect the day name , < *dayan-. We know that the Zoroastrian day names were in
use in Bactria in the late Achaemenid period, as this very name occurs as dyn in an Aramaic
text from Bactria dated to year 2 of an unspecified king (in my opinion Artaxerxes III, which
would put the document in 356 BC7). This suggests that the d > shift took place in the early
To be published by Sims-Williams in BAI 23 (2013).
A few examples: fortress, older < *diz-; , , two < *duwa-;
locust < *madaxa- (NP malax, from Bactrian or another d > l language); thief < *gada-;
- to call, name < *gda-; wine < *madu-; wife (also * in ) <
*-wad-; ten < *dasa. Iranian d remains after n, for example in keeper of the
granary < *kanduk- + draya-. d becomes l also in the group dw > as in , court
< *dwar-a- (like Yidga and Munji lvor; otherwise nowhere). In late Bactrian texts regularly shifts
(back) to /dr/, normally written (cf. , later in this paragraph), and likewise
usually shifts (back) to /rd/, as in *sard- year > *sarl (in last year) > late Bactrian
. The d > > l shift does not, of course, affect the Bactrian d that derives from Iranian postvocalic t, nor the Bactrian d in the clusters < ft and < xt, as in , sealed < *tafta-,
or held < *dxta-.
5
See my paper Elamite survivals in Western Iranian, Studia Iranica, Mesopotamica et Anatolica
I, 1994, pp. 1319. In the recent entry uppu in the CAD the authors point out that there is no real
authority for the conventional transcription of Akkadian /tuppu with emphatic . For a different (in my
view: wrong) analysis, see J. Tavernier, The case of Elamite tep-/tip- and Akkadian uppu, Iran 45,
2007, pp. 5769, mainly following Hinz.
6
Overview of the extensive literature in Mayrhofer, KEWA II, pp. 6534 (s.v. mudr). Mayrhofer
rejects the Egypt etymology and favours a derivation *mudr- < *muzr- < Akkadian musar <
Sumerian musar, but the Akkadian word (also cited as muar, muar) means object bearing a royal
inscription, not seal or sealed document; thus the semantic link seems weak. But in any event, this
too would imply a Bactrian l from Old Persian .
7
J. Naveh and Sh. Shaked, Sh., Aramaic documents from ancient Bactria, London, 2012,
document C 3. The date of the document and its implications for the history of the Zoroastrian calendar
are discussed in detail in our forthcoming book: N. Sims-Williams and F. de Blois, Studies in the
chronology of the Bactrian documents from Northern Afghanistan.
3
4

270

Franois de Blois

Achaemenid period, after the importation of the Persian words for inscription, scribe and
seal(ed document), but before the borrowing (from Old Persian or Avestan) of the Zoroastrian day names, in any case before the time of Artaxerxes III.
In the Avestan text Vendidad 1, 67, the name of the land Bactria occurs twice in the form
bx-, both times as acc. sing. bxm(a). This is not a regular Avestan reflex of *bxri-, and
it has been proposed (faute de mieux) that it is one of the Arachosian forms which somehow
found their way into the Avesta8. I would suggest that it is actually (Old) Bactrian. It illustrates
the middle step of the specifically Bactrian shift of post-consonantal r > > l, predating the
Achaemenid-period shift of > l, and predating also the general Eastern Iranian shift of b > .
bx- is thus the native name for Bactria, presumably still during the early Achaemenid period.
On this basis we can propose for early Bactrian three chronologically successive sound
shifts:
(1) Iranian r becomes in post-consonantal position only
(2) Iranian b, d, g become , , (except in some clusters)
(3) (of whatever origin) becomes l
The Avestan form bx- belongs to the stage where only the first of these shifts has been
completed.
An ethnonym blhika-, variant bahlika- occurs in the Atharvaveda; later Indian texts
have also bhlka-9. Although there is historically and geographically an attraction in connecting these with Bactria, our observation that the shift of to l did not take place until the
Achaemenid period at the earliest poses a difficulty at last as far as the Vedic forms (and in
particular the suspiciously modern looking blhika-) are concerned. This material needs to
be looked at again by a specialist in Vedic studies.
In the Middle Persian zand to Vendidad 1, 67 bx- is rendered as bl, and this spelling
is found also elsewhere in Zoroastrian Middle Persian10. This spelling could represent /bxl/,
with long // (as in Avestan and Old Persian), or equally well /baxl/, with short /a/ (like Arabic/New Persian Balx), as there are many examples for the plene spelling of /ah/ and /ax/
in Pahlavi script11. The initial b could reflect a Western Iranian transformation of the name;
// does not in fact occur in initial position in Middle Persian or Parthian. On the other hand,
if Middle Persian had borrowed unaltered the presumed Bactrian form /xl/, Pahlavi script
Thus R. Schmitt, in Compendium linguarum iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, p. 91, where he
argues that since this and similar names in Vendidad 1 dem jeweiligen Lokaldialekt von Margiane
bzw. Baktrien aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach nicht angehren (...), handelt es sich mglicherweise um
Arachotismen. Earlier, several scholars (at least since Darmesteter), and others since, have suggested
emending bx- to bxr-, whence Median bxtri- etc. The proposal put forward here has (I trust)
the advantage that it does not require any tampering with the Avestan text.
9
Mayrhofer, EWAia II, p. 218, with literature.
10
e.g. in Bundahin (critical ed. by F. Pkzd, Tehran, 2005), where we find the spelling bl in
11.8 (DH); 11a.17 (TD1, TD2, DH); 31.10 (all Mss., though this passage has little evidential value
given the fact that Bundahin 31 is merely a paraphrase of Vendidad 1).
11
In Pahlavi script the letters <> and <> are identical. The plene spelling of /ah/ and /ax/ as
presumably originated in words like tl /taxl/ as a way of distinguishing it from tl /tr/, but it spread
to words where there is no danger of ambiguity, or indeed where ambiguity arises precisely from the
plene spelling, like ttn for both taxtan run and txtan let run; compare also also stn /saxtan/,
plwk /pahlg/ etc., etc.
8

Bactria, Bx-, Balx

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would not really have had any other way of spelling this than bl. It seems to me therefore
that we do not have any really watertight evidence either for the hard /b-/ or for the short /a/
before the Islamic period.
The metathesis of /xl/ to /lx/ in the Arabic and New Persian name of the famous city of
Balx has an exact parallel in MP taxl > NP talx bitter, and can be compared with MP suxr
> NP surx red, and with MP wafr > NP barf snow. This suggests that Balx is a specifically New Persian form. It occurs, of course, in Arabic texts from long before the emergence
of New Persian as a written language. It is was thus not borrowed from literary New Persian
but from the spoken early New Persian which served as lingua Franca in Khurasan and Transoxania during the early Islamic period.